Clemson RB Will Shipley could be a mid-round steal
If Will Shipley had played 25 years ago, he likely wouldn't have been able to even sniff an NFL opportunity. However, in the modern era of the NFL, there are spots where a dual-threat running back can thrive meaning Shipley will get a look.
What makes him intriguing is his ability to catch the football. He had 85 career receptions at Clemson including at least 31 in each of the past two seasons. That skill will entice many NFL teams to give him a look, especially those who like to incorporate the running back into the passing attack with regularity.
Shipley is a dream on screen plays and in the flats where he can be one-on-one with defenders. He can also sneak out of the backfield on wheel routes given his good straight-line speed.
His instincts are also off the charts. He knows how to play the position and set up defenders rather than just relying on athleticism to make plays. That will be important in the NFL where defenders will be far more athletic than they are in the NCAA.
Where Shipley will have to prove himself, though, is as an interior runner. He tended to live on the edges of the Clemson offense but in the NFL, he's going to have to be able to run between the tackles at times, even if he's just a situational back.
Also, at 200 pounds, he's small for an NFL back. Will he be able to pick up blitzing linebackers and safeties on Sundays? That will be a question many scouts will ask.
Because he isn't a traditional back and because he doesn't have an elite burst, Shipley will be a change-of-pace player in the NFL. Thus, he's likely to slide a bit in the draft.
However, if he lands in the right spot, he could be another Julian Edelman or Austin Ekeler. Shipley will get his shot but it likely won't be until the 5th round or later in this year's Draft.